Lloyd in the Lead: The Power of Collaboration to Catalyze Energy Efficiency

By Sarah Heinicke

Sarah Heinicke is currently serving as Executive Director of the Lloyd EcoDistrict, where she is working with the board and other district stakeholders to inspire action and implement the Lloyd community vision.

Dec 14, 2017 | Resources, Society | 0 comments

"What gets measured gets done."

I'm not sure the origination of this adage, but this could be the rallying cry of Lloyd EcoDistrict's Energy Efficiency working group. Behind Lloyd EcoDistrict's impressive gains in energy efficiency, is a story about the power of collaboration, and how tracking energy changed a district.

Lloyd EcoDistrict is a nonprofit organization focused on bringing together a whole community to advance sustainability in the Lloyd neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. In 2014, we started working with a group of building owners and managers, to see how we could collaborate to reduce energy consumption in Lloyd. To advance toward our ambitious district goal of no net increase in energy consumption through 2035, we developed a set of 15 actions that the district would take over the next five years.

Our first steps:

  • Create a stakeholder committee
  • Monitor utility data

While having a committee and tracking progress towards goals are not particularly unusual concepts, doing so at a district scale has enabled these two simple actions to have unique power and impact.

It began simply enough: the group would meet monthly, and share progress on self-identified energy efficiency projects. We'd also rely on the group's guidance for development of collaborative projects that could support these individual efforts. A team of 43 neighborhood stakeholders and aligned organizations committed to participate in district projects through the Lloyd EcoDistrict Energy Efficiency Work Group (LE3). Lloyd buildings include a mix of offices, government agency headquarters, hotels, a convention center, a sports arena, a mall, and a health-care campus. Of the largest buildings in Lloyd, 50,000 square feet and up, 100% are tracking and sharing energy use with the district.

Something interesting happens when an individual building manager starts sharing their building’s progress, and tracking their performance against others. A sense of collegiate competition begins to develop, and in-person updates make it easy to ask questions and learn from each other's progress. This group also creates a connection between the people doing the work and public sector partners trying to help them do it – creating a mutually beneficial support system. Stakeholders are able to do things like clarify utility incentives and public reporting requirements, and our public partners can hear directly from users of their programs to troubleshoot and find opportunities to improve.

Our energy committee has enabled us to cultivate neighborhood champions, and empower those individuals to make change in the properties they manage. One of our committee members is an assistant property manager, Alissa, at a large office building here in Lloyd who loves being able to provide value to her tenants. Her tenants appreciate the energy efficiency upgrades she has been able to accomplish– and continuing to make these changes helps keep her building relevant in the marketplace.

In our energy committee, she likes hearing about new strategies she can try - she takes these back to her building, talks to her tenants, and seeks input from the committee on how she can make the case to her owners. She also brings her lessons back to the group for others to learn from – what challenges she faced trying things and how she overcame them.

Over time, she has become a dedicated member of the group. She rarely misses a meeting and is an active champion for us in the community and within her organization. She has recommended us to other property managers, and sees the value in our work as a whole. She has been our eager test subject for several new programs, and she is also the first to give us the hard feedback on how our programs could work better. For example, because she values our organization, she chose to prioritize our LED program, LAMP, over other programs so that her project could contribute to supporting our work financially. LAMP stands for LED Advantage Member Program. LAMP is a purchasing program for LED lighting, providing competitive pricing with unique charitable benefits – in addition to supporting Lloyd EcoDistrict’s ongoing charitable work, a portion of each purchase is donated to Central City Concern, a Portland-nonprofit working to help people who are experiencing homelessness. Alissa was among the first to use LAMP.

At 58.3 kBtu per square foot, the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of Alissa’s building is 25 kBtu per square foot less than nationwide median for similar property types, and she has goals to reach 52 kBtu per square foot. Last year her building became Energy Star certified for the first time and she has goals to get to a score of 85. Energy Star scores are a way of understanding building performance, a score of 50 is equivalent to the median score for similar buildings nationwide. A score of 85 would require performing better than 85% of other similar buildings nationwide. This is a difficult target to reach as the higher the score, the harder it is to compete among top performing buildings. This strong commitment to progress from Alissa and others like her, shows why the energy committee is the backbone of Lloyd EcoDistrict's energy efficiency work.

Over the last few years, Lloyd has made substantial progress with our energy goals and program outcomes:

  • 2MW solar array installed, over 250,000 square feet towards our district goal of 300,000 square feet
  • Conducted deep energy retrofits
  • Installed about 4,900 LEDs using our bulk buying program, LAMP, an estimated savings of 412,094 kWh and $37,000 annually. This amount of energy savings is equivalent to almost 200 tons of carbon
  • Achieved 100% tracking and reporting of buildings over 50,000 square feet through Energy Star Portfolio

Through support of the Lloyd Energy Efficiency Working group, our district champions have:

  • Saved 6,000 kwh by updating to LED lighting in their parking garage through LAMP
  • Conducted deep energy retrofits resulting in a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas
  • Improved tenant acquisition and retention by 25 percent thanks to improved energy efficiency
  • Developed several new buildings that perform 30 percent better than code
  • Reduced Energy Use Intensity (EUI) for office buildings by 10% since 2010, an average EUI of 59.7 kBtu per square foot.

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